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Arts and Entertainment

Where to Go to See Camel Milking

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Gil Riegler of Oasis Camel Dairy milking a camel (Photo courtesy Oasis Camel Dairy)
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Did you know that Southern California is home to America's first camel dairy? We didn't either, until we got wind of the Oasis Camel Dairy, which is located in San Diego County, and their presence at the Orange County Fair, where they are doing daily camel milking demonstrations.

Yep, that's right! In addition to hitting the Fair up for Chicken Charlie's deep fried creations (like deep fried cereal) you can check out the ancient practice of camel milking.

Gil and Nancy Riegler, owners of Oasis Camel Dairy, have spent the last two decades operating their SoCal dairy, and offer monthly public tours. At the OC Fair, which runs through August 12, visitors can catch live camel milking demos every day at 1:30, 3:30, and 5:30 p.m.

Can you drink the camel's milk? Alas, no. Rules about raw milk, including that produced by camels, prohibit the Rieglers from selling the camels' milk for consumption. While the Rieglers are able to drink the milk themselves as owners, they use the milk to make and sell their camel's milk soap.

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It's been a tough year for animals and the OC Fair. In the spring, the Fair's governing board voted to stop offering elephant rides at the popular annual event. And shortly after the Fair's opening, the mother of 11 baby piglets died after giving birth.